During divorce proceedings in Maryland, the courts take every possible step to review the family circumstances and create a highly-individualized and appropriate custody order or parenting plan.
Still, no matter how effective and thorough the initial custody order may have been or how appropriate its terms were for your family circumstances, it is almost inevitable that your family situation will change as time goes by after the divorce.
It could be several years, or it may just be a matter of months before circumstances are different enough to render the previous custody order inappropriate or ineffective for the needs of your family. When that happens, it may be time to consider a custody modification.
Have the children’s needs changed?
As kids grow and get older, they have increasingly challenging needs for parents. From the difficult discussions about peer pressure and sexuality that adults must have with teenagers to the desire for extracurricular activities and socialization so common in the teenage years, parents may need to invest more money or spend a lot of time helping their child get to and from social events and school activities.
If your parenting plan doesn’t reflect the kind of schedule your kids are keeping or their social and educational needs, it may be time to ask for a modification so that you can still be present in their life during this busy time.
Have your personal circumstances changed?
Even if your kids haven’t matured to a point where their needs are different than they were at the time of the divorce, your situation may be different. You may have gotten engaged to someone who has children, meaning you will have to tackle the challenges of a blended family. You may have moved to a new place or taken a new job that gives you less time to spend with the kids.
There are countless circumstances in which you will need to adjust your parental responsibilities and custody order. Provided that your circumstances are substantially different than they were at the time of your divorce, you have the right to request a modification, which involves the courts making formal changes to the initial custody order.